Views and perceptions of local council partners concerning a regional-scale health promotion initiative in rural Australia
Le, Q and Auckland, S and Nguyen, HB and Terry, DR, Views and perceptions of local council partners concerning a regional-scale health promotion initiative in rural Australia, Universal Journal of Public Health, 2, (7) pp. 181-188. ISSN 2331-8880 (2014) [Refereed Article]
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There are a number of risk factors which increasingly impact the health and wellbeing of Australians, particularly in rural communities. To address the health and wellbeing of communities, local governments are taking on a more focused role by supporting healthy community initiatives (HCI). This paper presents local council partners perceptions concerning a regional-scale health promotion initiative that was undertaken in rural Tasmania, Australia. The evaluation provides insight into the future decisions and strategies that may be developed to improve processes, methods and outcomes of health initiatives undertaken by local governments. The study used a mixed methods approach collecting data through a questionnaire, focus group discussions and interviews with stakeholders and participating councils to provide an understanding of the effectiveness and success of, and barriers to, the health promotion initiative. It was found that there was an emphasis by local councils on programs that promoted physical activities, while programs that focused on healthy food and other health promotion topics, such as quit smoking and healthy workplaces were less emphasised. Overall, the health promotion initiative was perceived to be effective; however, there was little measureable evidence as to the outcomes of the various projects within the initiative and there was concern regarding the sustainability of the initiative beyond the funding timeframe. Community based, health promotion interventions are complex. Local government are suitably placed to deliver health promotion initiatives, as they have a greater understanding and can affect the greatest change by investing in projects with the highest priority among those communities within their boundaries. Nevertheless, sustainability of projects beyond funding allocation, while building and improving partnerships among local governments, and service agencies to pool resources and capture specific target groups must be central to ongoing initiatives.
local government, health promotion, health initiative, physical activity, sustainability, success, barriers